O’Connell Street.

Parked at the Lilac Centre. No point fucking around with all that weird on street parking shit. Always that feeling that there’s some fat clamper hiding behind a tree waiting for you to park one inch too far across his imaginary line, and he won’t let you go for any less than a month’s rent. Did a fast u-turn at the Dealz and spun towards the car park fast. Stopped to let a blind man cross at the entrance and then got the ticket and drove up two flights and parked between a Range Rover and a Merc. Good company for the 1.4 Petrol from Mayo, with the Galway registration and 300 thousand miles on her 15 year old engine. Went for the lifts, burnt the floor number into my head, floor one, floor one, cos I knew I’d forget it later and spend half the day wandering around the wrong level suspecting car theft and awkward phone calls to guards and a haype of forms to fill out and no way home.

Emerged at Cassidy travel, people everywhere, souls purgatorial drifting through the commercial river. There was a place selling a can of coke and a pizza for 6 something but I kept going. Out onto Parnell Street, passed Chapters and around by O’Connell Street. People like lost stars in the cosmos, floating around, waiting for buses, people, something. Spotted an all you can eat buffet for 12.99 and made a mental note to attack it later. Passed out the GPO where Liam Neeson tried to blow it up one time and decided to go to Easons. Haven’t darkened their door for about 20 years. They take over 52% from the price of a book just to stock it on their walls so I was in a sorta boycott mode. Then again, I could be missing something crucial, some access to great literature unavailable anywhere else. I had an image of a warm shop, with some kind of government chairs where you could read, research, enjoy the smell of papyrus and dear coffee from an overpriced machine.

There was a woman smoking on the steps on the way in, white shirt, black leather pants, curly raven hair, maybe some picture of a film she saw one time and here she is now living it out in the big city. The doors came back with a cheap whoosh and I was in, underwhelmed and confused. Where’s all the big shtuff ambience? Isn’t this the flagship store? More like just another newsagent that sold books in fancy shelves. Not too sure where the 52% was going. Asked the security guard was I in the right one. He told me there was two more. One on Nasaau Street and another on St. Stephen’s Green. “But this is the biggest one…”


Gave it another whirl around and said fuck this. Back to the Chinese. It was busy with gluttons trying to look fancy, like they had culinary taste and experience, but they really just wanted the brown shlop with a fistful of chips and the ignorant fried rice. I paid your wan and got a plate and stocked up.Not sure what kinda mongrels they were cooking but twas dire stuff and I ate anyway. Nearly time to get the car now aswell. What floor did I say again…1 or 2…..?

Stargate Athlone

 He got out on a Friday, mad for drink, craic, mayhem. First place he found was a closed restaurant and decided to rob it. Kicked in the door, American Roadhouse style, got into the kitchen and raided the presses, cabinets, anywhere that looked like it might have money or a key to a safe or even just a box of change to keep him going. He found nothing but half drank bottles of wine and buckets of margarine. He took the wine, and left the buckets. Broke back out through the window and decided he needed a car.  

Our carpark downstairs was his next port of call. Not sure how he found it. Instinct maybe, fluke, or he followed down some innocent tenant that opened the secure gates like an invitation from car robbing karma world. He was well drunk now, not in a fit state to discriminate car models.  Which was good cos there was a few. Fancy new SUV’s, BMW’s, and one or two electric yokes. After that, it was all downhill. 10 years old and better. There was even a Corolla covered in dust and cobwebs that stirred envy and nostalgia in anyone born before 1995. It was the older cars he went after. No alarms, simpler to hotwire, probably easier to drive too as he’d been in jail when the newer ones were invented. He hit a Fiesta first. Got two euro worth of change. Then went for the Peugeot something. 203, 303, who knows. There wasn’t much in that, maybe a jacket and a pair of shoes and an old bottle of water. He broke the window in disgust and kept going. Eventually he found a Polo and somehow got it started. I suppose it was time to go at that stage. Cameras, nosie, broken glass, curious passers-by. The Polo was small with great power, which was good because he didn’t know how the gates worked. If he chose the exit gate it would open automatically but, if chose the entry gate, he’d have to drive right through it. He chose the latter and smashed into it with a loud clang and clatter that oddly woke nobody. The gate itself looked wounded, knocked, twisted like it was trying to do yoga and got stuck half way into the waiting street. He went again, and again, and again until it gave and landed on the road and he was able to speed off in the front wrecked Polo into the wine drunk night. Guards by now had been notified, made alert, told what was happening. The people at the restaurant had called first, and now this Fast and the Furious effort going on in the nearby carpark. They had an idea of who it was. Had been known for this kinda thing. They knew it would be an eventful weekend. Just didn’t expect it a few hours after he was released. It wasn’t that hard to find him either. Once someone put in the report of the car on fire about five miles up the road it all came together like a Sherlock jigsaw. They arrested him close by. Still with the wine, burnt clothes, and the few euro he stole from the Fiesta.  He woke up the next morning again, back in jail, charged with more of the same as before and sure twas all the one. Great night out altogether.